A St. Charles-based startup that has developed a mobile app it says is designed to help renters become homeowners has launched its technology after raising $2.6 million in seed funding.
The startup — called Gravy — said Tuesday it has raised its seed financing from a group of technology and real estate investors. It did not disclose the names of its investors.
Founded in 2021, Gravy has created a mobile app with features to help prepare renters to purchase their first homes. Through the app, users can open a FDIC-insured savings account to save for a down payment, complete home buying education courses and participate in a rewards program.
“We think there’s a huge opportunity and we’re already starting to see the momentum around helping renters navigate the path to homeownership and ultimately give them confidence during the process leading to and during that huge process of buying your first home,” said Gravy co-founder and CEO Jeff Dinter.
Gravy said Tuesday it has completed a beta launch of its mobile app and has opened its platform to the public. Dinter said he believes Gravy’s mobile app, and specifically its savings account feature, can be a critical tool in helping renters stay focused on achieving home ownership.
“It’s the most money you’ve ever saved and we think there’s a really cool opportunity to kind of almost be that vacation jar on the counter that means something to you,” Dinter said.
Through its rewards program, Gravy says its app’s users can receive 5% of their rent per month as rewards and also can get rewards for hitting individual savings goals like referring the app to others and completing home buying education courses. Combined, Gravy users have pledged to seek to save $100 million to buy homes and the startup has committed more than $4 million in rewards, the company said. Gravy says the rewards are located in a “digital rewards wallet” and have to be used for a home purchase.
Through its app, Gravy also connects users with real estate agents and mortgage lenders to help them through the home buying process. It said it has inked a partnership with real estate company Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), whose holdings include real estate brokerage brands Coldwell Banker and Century 21 Real Estate.
Gravy said its app will also include a subscription version called Gravy+, which will allow users to receive rewards more rapidly, monitor their mortgage credit score and allow them to take donations for their house fund. Gravy+ costs $6.99 per month and $4.99 per month for the annual plan.
Dinter co-founded Gravy with Chief Growth Officer Will Dunn and Chief Technology Officer Jimmy Lien. Dinter and Lien previously co-founded property management startup TenantLoop, which in 2017 sold to Boston-based Buildium. The pair met Dunn while working for Buildium after their startup’s sale.
Gravy has its headquarters at OPO Startups, located on St. Charles’ historic Main Street, and has about 10 employees.
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